Contemporary art goes rather far beyond putting pictures up on a wall. If fact, it can be seen to be the antithesis of static approaches to involving others in work. Clodagh Emoe, Dublin-based artist and research scholar at the Graduate School of Creative Arts and Media, is making a name for herself via practices that challenge our concept of what an artist does. In Cult of Engagement, she examines the essence of ritual, the occult, and the birth of theatre.
IS RITUAL TOTALLY ABSENT FROM PEOPLE'S LIVES?
Ritual is used as a means of transformation. There are many rites of passage, both religious and secular, that we would be familiar with, for example, baptism, graduation, marriage, etc. The ritual is still part of our lives.
PEOPLE OFTEN CONFUSE RITUAL WITH MAGIC
For me, magic could be associated with insincerity. I'd like to think of the ritual in light of enchantment rather than magic.
YOU'RE USING SOUND, QUITE SIGNIFICANTLY, IN THIS PIECE
There's a video piece in the show, Parados, which presents a manifestation of the chorus that emerged from Greek tragedy. The chorus was originally followers of Dionysus who renounced their social past and civic position to engage in rapturous devotion. The chorus forewarned the audience of the culmination of the actions on the stage, and 'parados' is the term used for the introductory song of the chorus.
I felt sound would be an effective way to convey this sense that something was bound to take place.
YOUR WORK TENDS TO ASK THE VIEWER TO BECOME A PARTICIPANT
Organising and facilitating events have emerged as a process in my practice. I think in this respect it's important to mention the term 'engagement'. This is less straightforward term than participation and in a sense, it allows less physical processes such as consideration and reflection to be regarded as an active position. I would be very satisfied if that takes place with my work. - SC
Cult of Engagement runs until January 31st in Project Arts Centre. See www.projectartscentre.ie for more info